Best Solar Panel Guide: REC vs. Sunpower
Advantages to Going Solar
As renewable energy gains popularity, solar energy is emerging as a top choice due to its numerous financial and environmental advantages. By installing solar panels, you can generate most of your own power and reduce your reliance on the grid, resulting in significantly lower electric bills. Additionally, investing in solar energy can increase the value of your property, making it a Smart long-term investment.
Beyond the financial benefits, going solar also has a substantial positive impact on the environment. By decreasing your reliance on non-renewable energy sources, you can reduce your carbon footprint and help combat climate change. For example, an average single residential solar panel system can eliminate around 4 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, which is equivalent to planting over 100 trees.
How to Chose the Best Panel
When you choose to go solar, selecting the right solar panel type is crucial. There are two main types of solar panels to choose from: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline panels are made from a single silicon crystal and are known for their higher efficiency and quality, while polycrystalline panels are made by melting together many fragments of silicon and are less expensive but less efficient.
Aside from the type of panel, other important factors to consider are performance metrics such as power and efficiency. Power is the panel’s output under ideal conditions, measured in Watts (W), while efficiency refers to how well the panel can convert sunlight into electricity. These two factors combined determine the overall electricity production of the solar panel system. Other factors to consider when selecting solar panels include warranty, temperature coefficient, and resiliency depending on the location where the panels will be installed.
SunPower is a solar energy company that has shifted its FOCUS from manufacturing to installation, now partnering with a couple of oversea manufacturers, such as Singapore’s Maxeon and India’s WaaRee for solar panel manufacturing. This is contrary to consumers’ conception that Sunpower is made in the USA. While SunPower installs Maxeon and WaaRee products, it’s worth noting that Sunpower’s installs can be more expensive than other comparably advanced solar panels on the market. Additionally, many of these products are now available to other installers, which may offer them at a better price than SunPower.
REC is a strong solar panel manufacturer that has been in the industry for over two decades. While REC is a Norwegian company, it has a manufacturing facility in Singapore, reflecting its global presence in the market. REC offers a range of excellent solar panel series, with the Alpha Pure and Alpha Pure R series being among their most popular products. Overall, REC is known for producing high-quality solar products at competitive prices, making it an attractive option for those looking to invest in solar energy. With REC, you can obtain a top-notch solar panel system at a relatively affordable price, without compromising on quality or performance.
Comparing Panels: REC Alpha REC400AA vs. Sunpower A-Series SPR-A400
When comparing solar panels, the REC Alpha REC400AA and SunPower A-Series SPR-A400 (manufactured by Maxeon) have several similarities. Both panels are monocrystalline with a rated power of 400W, a 25-year warranty, and 0.25% derating. While the efficiency rating for SunPower’s panel is 21.4%, REC’s panel has a slightly higher efficiency rating of 21.6%, although the difference is minimal.
One significant advantage of the REC panel is its 132 monocrystalline half-cut cells, compared to SunPower’s standard 66 cells. This feature gives the REC panel an edge in shading tolerance and leads to a slight increase in panel efficiency. Additionally, the half-cut cells in REC’s panel are physically more durable than traditional cells, thanks to their smaller size, making them less susceptible to cracking.
Another notable difference between the two panels is their price and bankability. While both panels have comparable features, SunPower’s A-Series SPR-A400 is typically more expensive than the REC Alpha REC400AA, which is still a reputable and bankable product. Therefore, the REC panel is an excellent option for those seeking a high-quality, durable, and cost-effective solar panel system.
|Model||Alpha REC400AA||A-Series SPR-A400|
|Product Warranty||25 yrs||40 yrs|
|Performance Advantage||Half-cut cells||Standard cells|
A 40-year warranty for solar panels is uncommon and may not be practical for most consumers as it is likely that the roofing will need to be replaced before the warranty period is over. In such cases, u ninstalling and reinstalling the solar panels is a costly process. and many owners may decide to upgrade their solar systems instead, rendering the 40-year warranty less significant. Consumers should consider the long-term cost-benefit of investing in a solar panel system with a 40-year warranty before making a decision.
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SunPower Equinox ® SunVault ® Storage
A complete home solar storage solution
Gone are the days of clunky, piecemeal systems. Our SunPower Equinox ® system with SunVault ® Storage is the only home solar storage system designed by one company. From record-breaking panels to seamless energy storage, every component is designed to work together perfectly.
Industry-leading warranty, all from one company
The SunPower Equinox ® system is backed by a home solar warranty that covers your whole system (not just the panels). That means you never have to wonder which company you can depend on. We’ve got you covered for 25 years. including performance, labor and parts.
The only solar warranty to cover your complete system for 25 years—including performance, labor and parts. We have absolute confidence in our panels’ ability to deliver more energy, reliability and savings over time.
Smarter Solar ®
The SunPower Equinox ® system features unrivaled performance with access to the most efficient solar panels on the market. Because more power means more savings and fewer panels on your roof.
SunPower’s elegant panels achieve a world-record setting 22% efficiency rate, the highest efficiency solar panels you can buy for your roof. In fact, a SunPower solar panel produces the same total energy in its first 17 years as a conventional panel running for 25 years.
- . SunPower M-440 panels offer the highest efficiency of any commercially available solar panel based on the top 20 panel manufacturers by market share in the US (per Wood Mackenzie US PV Leaderboard Q3 2022 report).
- . Based on search of datasheet values from websites of top 10 manufacturers per IHS, as of January 2017
- . SunPower 360W compared to a Conventional Panel on same sized arrays (300W, 17.9% efficient, approx. 1.6 m2), 5% more energy per watt (based on 3pty module characterization and PVSim), 0.75%/yr slower degradation (Campeau, Z. et al. SunPower Module Degradation Rate, SunPower white paper, 2013).
SunPower Solar Panels: The Leading Option in the U.S. Solar Industry
SunPower is one of the leading companies in the U.S. solar industry, with a history dating back more than 50 years ago. Photovoltaic (PV) products manufactured by SunPower are a byproduct of intense research, outstanding craftsmanship, and high-quality manufacturing processes that result in SunPower’s high-efficiency solar panels that can retain around 92% of their DC power generation capacity in 25 years.
Products manufactured by SunPower have a great performance, highly aesthetic designs, and long warranties extending up to 40 years in some cases. If you are looking to learn more about SunPower, how the company works, its technology, available products, and other interesting information about it, then this is the right article is for you.
SunPower overview: History, subsidiaries, and technology
The history of SunPower started in 1970, when Dr. Richard Swanson, the co-founder of the company, chose solar energy to deal with the oil crisis in the country. The company was finally created in 1985, as a result of two grants awarded by the Electric Power Research Institute and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Throughout its history, SunPower has heavily focused on research and adapting cutting-edge solar technology available in the industry, to create its outstanding products. As a result, SunPower has created world-record solar cells used in all types of applications like residential, commercial, utility-scale, and even special projects created by NASA.
SunPower does not only provide high-quality PV products, but a complete range of energy solutions including generation, monitoring, control, and storage. The company is currently positioned as one of the leading solar companies in the U.S. solar industry.
Understanding more about SunPower, how they work, and its technology will provide you with greater insight into the reach of the company and how its products might suit your needs.
SunPower or Maxeon Solar: Who is who?
SunPower was created as a U.S. solely based company, focusing on selling PV solutions only to the U.S., but this did not limit its reach. In 2020, Maxeon was created as a spin-off company of SunPower, allowing it to sell PV solutions to customers all over the world, by dealing with SunPower-branded products on an international scale, delivering solar energy solutions to Asia, Europe, and more than 100 countries all over the globe.
Maxeon currently holds more than 1,000 solar patents and has achieved revenue surpassing 700 million by selling high-quality PV products all over the world. This company has partnered with over 1,400 solar sales and installers to extend its reach within different countries, granting homeowners across the globe the possibility to enjoy high-quality PV solutions with fully integrated solar energy systems.
SunPower high-efficiency solar panels are manufactured using some of the best monocrystalline silicon modules in the market. The company integrates this high-quality material with highly-developed solar cell structural designs like IBC solar cell technology and shingled technology to create their high-quality products.
IBC Solar Cell Technology
Interdigitated Back Contact (IBC) solar cell technology is one of the most advanced and cutting-edge manufacturing technologies available for SunPower solar cells. The technology places solar energy conversion at the back of the cell, also relocating the electrodes at the rear side of it.
Since IBC SunPower solar cells have relocated the frontal electrodes at the back, they feature a larger useful area for photons to impact, which results in the SunPower high-efficiency solar panels. IBC SunPower solar cells are up to 20% more efficient than Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact (PERC) solar panels.
With this technology, SunPower has been able to create highly aesthetic solar panels with no visible contacts at the front, commonly known as the SunPower All Black solar panels. Installing these modules at homes or any other locations, will not disrupt the superiorly aesthetic aspect of the place while providing the capacity to generate solar power.
Shingled technology is one of the latest manufacturing methods for creating solar modules. By combining it with mono-PERC technology, SunPower has created the Maxeon Performance modules that can reach up to 625W in solar power generation with a single module, featuring a 21.2% conversion efficiency.
SunPower Performance modules manufactured with shingled technology, are robust solar panels featuring resistance to thermal stress, humidity, and Potential Induced Degradation (PID). The circuitry design can also mitigate hotspots while increasing energy production under unfavorable conditions.
Aside from increasing conversion efficiency by reducing whitespace between SunPower solar cells, Shingled technology increases flexibility for the modules, making them more durable and resistant.
Are SunPower solar panels the right option for you?
SunPower PV modules feature cutting-edge technology, outstanding performance, and superior aesthetics, making them ideal for practically any application, but especially for residential.
SunPower solar panel price tends to have a slightly higher cost than traditional low- and mid-efficiency solar panels, but the high conversion efficiency, great durability, low power degradation, and long warranty, provide benefits surpassing the price difference between modules.
SunPower has tailored-designed solar panels and other PV solutions, suited for residential, commercial, and utility-scale applications. SunPower products are the preferred option picked by many investors, project developers, electric utilities, homeowners, government entities, and retail businesses.
If you are looking for extremely high-performance modules designed for the most demanding applications and featuring highly aesthetic designs, then SunPower panels are the right fit for you.
SunPower has a wide variety of PV solutions featuring different efficiencies, price range, estimate size, power rate, and other technical and visual variations. In this section, we will introduce each product series manufactured by SunPower.
The M series solar panels by SunPower, feature Maxeon Gen 6 patented solar cells that can deliver a great performance with module options ranging from 420W to 440W. M series modules are compatible with the SunPower Equinox Solar System and the mySunPower Monitoring system, featuring an AC microinverter that directly converts DC to AC at the output of the module.
With a high conversion efficiency of 22.8%, M Series SunPower residential solar panels and commercial solar panels are placed among the most powerful AC coupled PV solutions in the market.
Coupled with powerful microinverters, A Series SunPower solar panels are among the first residential modules to have achieved a solar power generation capacity of 415W. A Series SunPower panels include high power output options going from 400W to 420W for SunPower residential solar panels, and 430W to 450W for SunPower commercial solar panels.
Featuring a maximum conversion efficiency of 22.5% for the A series, these modules are among the best AC coupled solar panels, falling second only to the M series modules.
The X Series SunPower PV modules are an outstanding show of durability, performance, and low degradation over time. These modules are designed to achieve a conversion efficiency superior to the 22.0%, delivering more power and higher savings while requiring fewer modules installed on the roof.
Featuring a power output of 360W for SunPower residential solar panels and 470W for the SunPower commercial solar panels, X Series SunPower solar panels are built over a solid metallic foundation, making them almost invulnerable to the corrosion and cracking of regular modules. These modules produce 60% more energy than conventional modules featuring the same size and they are covered by a 25-year warranty.
Customers who want to get affordable solar panels manufactured by SunPower will find the E Series to be the right fit for them. Power output for E Series modules includes options going from 320W to 327W for the SunPower residential solar panels, and one option of 435W for the SunPower commercial solar panels. E Series modules can achieve a maximum conversion efficiency of 20.4%, making them a great investment opportunity.
E Series PV modules by SunPower feature a low power degradation over time and feature a 25-year warranty. Conventional modules retain 80% of their capacity after 10 years, while E Series SunPower panels retain a little less than 90% of their capacity at 25 years of operation.
U Series. Equinox
The U Series SunPower solar panels are the latest product from Sunpower. While little is known about these interesting new additions to the portfolio of PV modules manufactured by SunPower, they are revealed as the new addition to the SunPower Equinox System.
The SunPower Equinox System is the best PV solution for homeowners and businesses who want to have complete control over their solar PV system with energy storage addition. This PV system seamlessly integrates AC SunPower high-efficiency solar panels featuring cutting-edge technology and superior aesthetics with invisible mounting, integrating the system with the EnergyLink Hardware and the EnergyLink software.
SunPower vs. Other companies: Strengths ideal applications
Over its more than 50 years of history, SunPower has delivered excellent results in the U.S. solar industry, positioning itself as one of the leading solar PV manufacturing companies in the country. SunPower is regularly compared to other world-leading solar companies like LG Solar, Jinko Solar, Canadian Solar, Q-Cell Solar, REC Solar, and other outstanding solar manufacturers in the industry.
While SunPower has a premium price on its products, the high durability, higher efficiency, great performance, long-term warranty and low power degradation of their modules, make the investment in SunPower solar panel price totally worth it. over, while other brands compete with each other to provide the manufacture of the highest efficiency solar panels, SunPower has remained in the first position with the highest efficiency solar panels for several years.
While in 2022 SunPower high-efficiency solar panels run at 22.6% efficiency, every year we get new innovations from this company that push that efficiency boundary a little higher and SunPower has managed to do that always on top of competition.
Due to all these reasons, SunPower PV modules are probably the top-quality choice for homeowners who want to install robust solar panels with great performance and superior aesthetics.
SunPower® is an American solar company with a 35-year history of innovation and quality. Their solar technology, value, warranty, and aesthetics are unmatched. We are proud to partner with a company whose commitment to the community and the future matches our own.
AWARD-WINNING SUNPOWER INSTALLER
Freedom Solar Power is honored to have been selected from among 500 dealers nationwide as the “Residential Top Producer of the Year” in 2021 for the third consecutive year. This award reflects continued recognition over the past five years for putting customers first, demonstrating exceptional industry knowledge and leadership, and installing more residential solar than anyone else in the U.S.
HIGH-EFFICIENCY PANELS, SUPERIOR AESTHETICS
SunPower’s integrated solar technology is fundamentally different. And dramatically better. They offer the most advanced panel efficiency that will save you thousands of dollars over the life of your system and will increase your home’s value if you decide to sell.
SunPower solar panels offer a sleek design through low-profile mounting system for homeowners who want a superior aesthetic. They are also proven to stand up to harsh conditions such as hail, extreme temperatures, and hurricane-force winds better than any other home solar technology.
From the warehouse through installation to your roof, SunPower products are required to meet comprehensive quality and reliability standards. This includes detailed quality review of each system component, meticulous vendor verification, and supplier and installer guidelines and continuing education.
SUNPOWER WARRANTY THROUGH FREEDOM SOLAR COVERS YOUR ENTIRE SYSTEM
When you choose Freedom Solar Power as your installer, you can rest assured that your entire system is backed by SunPower’s 25-year warranty, which is the most comprehensive solar warranty for panels, microinverters and racking. We also offer a 10-year warranty for your monitoring system. Freedom Solar will be your one-stop-shop to manage the warranty and any service needs, simplifying the process of solar ownership for you.
With the quality of our products, you may never need to use our warranty. But if you do, we make it simple and quick. The SunPower warranty covers labor, shipping, and parts if anything needs to be replaced. Unlike other companies that may require you to pay for shipping and testing fees or have hidden exceptions, SunPower makes it easy.
Together, Freedom Solar Power and SunPower have a combined 50 years of expertise in the solar industry. Our alignment of values across quality craftsmanship and excellent customer experience means that you receive the best solar experience available on the market today.